Sound: This Providence's 3rd album touches on a lot of the best points about pop-rock music today and that has good and bad connotations. At no point during Who Are You Now? Will you feel that the Fueled By Ramen recording artist is about to take the music scene by storm, but there are enough catchy tracks on the latest album that it will have a guaranteed audience. At times This Providence feels a bit like a guy-fronted version of Paramore, but without quite as many high-energy tracks. It all adds up to a likeable enough album, but again, it still feels slightly predictable and probably won't blow any minds.
Although the bulk of the new album does lean toward a more low-key, pop-rock vibe, This Providence still shines when the occasional up-tempo song does arise. The first single That Girl's A Trick is easily one of the best offerings on Who Are You Now?, with a funky intro that thrives on the rhythm section. If you liked Franz Ferdinand's Take Me Out, you'll likely enjoy the arrangement that drives That Girl's A Trick. This Providence's track isn't quite as impressive, but it still has a lot of infectious aspects that will have many a listener singing along. Another standout is Squeaking Wheels and White Light, which hit's it's peak when the bass line comes to the forefront. The track gradually builds, and later there's a nice percussion line somewhat similar to The Bravery's Honest Mistake.
As was mentioned earlier, easy-on-the-ears love songs do seem to rule the CD. They're not all full-out ballads, but a good number of them could aptly be called mellow. Out of all these particular selections, it's the first track Sure As Hell that makes the biggest impression. This is not only a true ballad, it's one of the most emotionally daring on the entire record. While the other songs are shaped to be radio hits, Sure As Hell is a melancholy, simply arranged heartbreaker. When it comes to the love songs, it does seem that This Providence makes a bigger statement when they strip everything down. Chasing The Wind isn't completely devoid of instruments or production value, but it builds quietly. A good part of the beginning is devoted to the vocals and a quietly strummed acoustic, which is nicely enhanced by subtle electric guitar lines coming from way in the background. // 7
Lyrics: If you're not a fan of songs that accentuate feelings and emotions, you're not likely going to connect with Who Are You Now? That being said, This Providence does relay the topic of love fairly well. Between tracks like Sure As Hell (which features the repeating line I still wanted you) and the acoustic ballad Sand In Your Shoes (We fell in love with the windows rolled downYour silhouette is like some heavily ghost). It's all very sentimental content and pretty sweet most of the time, but again, that might not be what every listener wants. // 8
Overall Impression: This Providence does seem to take the band approach rather than drawing too much attention to one particular instrument during the CD. Likewise, Dan Young is a capable vocalist who has a pretty impressive range, but he never overpowers a song. A lot of the material seems to be emotionally driven, and the lyrical content is given a big priority. The adjective sweet often comes to mind when I was listening to Who Are You Now?, and there is certainly an audience for love-driven songs. It's not the most interesting or new CD out right now, but there are also more than a few songs that seem (for better or worse) Billboard hits. // 7